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Invading crabs could threaten life in the Antarctic



IMAGE: The brachyuran crab Halicarcinus planatus from the Beagle Channel, south of Tierra del Fuego, is shown. This adult female has recently moulted. Oocytes and other internal structures are visible through... view more

Credit: S.T.

Life on the Antarctic sea floor is under threat from crabs that could invade the area thanks to favorable conditions as a result of global warming, researchers warn.

In a Journal of Biogeography editorial, experts say invasive species degrade marine ecosystems by preying on or outcompeting local species. Early signs of biological invasion are already apparent.

"Biological invasion is a major worry in the Arctic," said lead author Dr. Richard Aronson, "but we should be just as concerned about the Antarctic." Assessing the extent of the problem requires long-term monitoring programs.


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